New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern slams 'unacceptable' Manus Island situation

Refugees at Manus Island detention centre staging a protest on November 7

The approximately 420 asylum seekers and refugees choosing to remain at the now-closed Manus Island processing centre have been without food, water or medical supplies for nearly two weeks.

The would leave about 470 refugees in the centre in Papua New Guinea, which has no power, food or running water. She's going to put that case again to him when they meet in Manila, and we're going to continue to uphold the values that I think New Zealanders would expect our government to. Ardern again reiterated New Zealand's desire to resettle 150 of the men now held in Australia's offshore detention centres despite Malcolm Turnbull turning down her offer a week prior.

Workers taking down the fences at the Manus Island detention centre.

"I have pursued this issue from New Zealand's perspective", she told a media conference at the APEC Summit in Vietnam.

Jacinda Ardern wants to have a "substantive" discussion with Malcolm Turnbull at the East Asia Summit about the situation on Manus Island. "I think it's clear that we don't think what's happening there as acceptable, that's why the offer's there", she said.

In April 2016, the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court ruled the detention centre was unconstitutional and illegal, leading the country and Australia to prepare for its closure.

It was her strongest statement to date against the unfolding crisis and one she backed up again on Sunday night.

"I will be raising with Prime Minister Turnbull, as I have consistently done, that we have grave concerns over the situation on Manus Island but also for the refugees on Nauru, and that our hope is to lend a hand as far as we are able in helping resolve this situation".

"That would not be our intent to do that - we treat citizens as citizens and residents as residents".

Australia has repeatedly said it wants first to take advantage of a USA offer to take 1250 of the refugees, and Ardern has deferred to that for now.

Ardern said it was not a matter for New Zealand if Australia wanted to bar those who might come to New Zealand from entering Australia. Former Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee warned Ms Ardern on Sunday, saying there were "a whole lot of things at play here".

Refugees held on the island have asked why Australia is refusing to allow New Zealand to deal directly with PNG in resettling the men if, as Australia claims, the issue of the men's resettlement, is a "matter for the government of PNG".

"Every step of the way has been a dialogue with Australia about the best way to find resolution".



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